Music Reviews



Jan 01 2010
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Artist: Raoul Sinier (@)
Title: Tremens Industry
Format: CD + DVD
Label: Ad Noiseam
Rated: *****
The intriguing creative and operational skills of the Parisian digital painter and electronic musician Raoul Sinier have been already disclosed when Ad Noiseam decided to issue its very first release with his real name (and not by using his moniker Ra), Huge Samurai Radish '“ if you miss the "radish-o-phobic" nice clip, you'll find it in the nice DVD attached to this oeuvre - in 2007, whose sinister noises, crackling beats and static melodies colliding with multicolored poisoned baits of grating crunched sounds could just be considered as a sort of sonic manifestation of its painting attitudes. Tremens Industry, the logical link of the heavy chain crafted through its previous releases (as the listener's going to experience something similar to a sort of hybridization between the crunched hip hop crumbles dropped in Wxfdswxc2 and the stormy corrugated meatballs of sounds cooked in Brain Kitchen), is the best occasion to appreciate both sides of this contemporary craftsman, whose experiments with video and audio-clips could be considered complementary as well.

From the musical viewpoint, the fearful Tremens Industry (a sort of allegorical transliteration of a fervid and tireless creative mind getting wicked after a prolonged operative session?!?! A monstrous mutation that could be perfect to describe the freaky figments of Sinier's imagination!!!) looks more accessible than his past works, maybe for the presence of some songs (such as The Hole '“ we like the bizarre wit of its lyrics... watch related clips on the DVD for a visual transposition, folks!!! -, the rough metallic alloying of Elle A Raison, the lovely Boxes '“ one of my favorite "French-touched" tracks... - and List Of Things '“ a more hip-hop oriented tune reminding to us the golden era of Funkstorung-like electronic moistures on the classic hopping rhythmical pattern), composed mainly by vocal "clutches" on catching drum patterns and melodic lines derived from its self-made guitar (a specific video documentary among the extras will explain how to build a similar one step-by-step!!!), alternated with cool electronic pieces and some charming tracks in a unique coherent composition, introduced by the estranged effect induced by Overthoughts, a track which seems to be built on the typical electronic jingles used for broadcasted TV news '“ we like this kind of ironic insertions! -. Even if some episodes look slightly creepy and gritty '“ a dark recipe which doesn't harm its stylish formula... could you tell Burton's characters will preserve their attraction if deprived of their gothic appeal for instance? -, we'll glad to rediscover Sinier's crease-proof "playfulness" is the same as ever.

The second part of Tremens Industry (the visual one) consists of a DVD (with English & German subtitles)crammed by cartoons, 3d animations and some cool portraits grabbed from Sinier's "reality" among which I enjoyed the frightening La Peau du Soldat (translation: The Soldier's Skin) and its funny psychotic narration featuring some mute characters which seem to be just some multiplied identities of the narrator. Shorts, freaks, animations, eccentric characters (after the above-mentioned army of violent radishes, the dramatic funny gastronomic saga of food prompted by evil intentions is going to keep on throughout a troublesome chicken's breast... a really daily torment indeed!!! ) will surely entertain you and supposedly you'll be delighted by Sinier's attempt to involve the beneficiary of this release in its creative universe by including an how-to about his self-made guitar and some cool samples of speed painting powered by his MAC... don't call it just IDM ( ... and don't forget to call the cruel robot from the second videoclip index!!!)!

Wynardtage: The Grey Line

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Dec 21 2009
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Artist: Wynardtage (@)
Title: The Grey Line
Format: CD
Label: COP International (@)
Distributor: COP International
Rated: *****
Wynardtage is a dark electro band from Saxony, Germany led by Kai Arnold, assisted by Gunnar Bock and Mario Fritzsche, with guest vocals on a couple tracks by a gal named Mel. Kai has released a bunch of albums previously under the Wynardtage moniker and also has been on compilations, etc., so even though I’ve never heard of Wynardtage until I received this CD, they are obviously well-established, certainly in Germany where it counts plenty. In doing a little research I discovered Wynardtage had a 2007 album called "Praise the Fallen". Hmmm... hmmm... sounds familiar... where have I heard that title before? Duh... Why would ANYBODY want to title an album after one that has been done by VNV??? That should have been the first clue, but in their defense, they don’t really sound like VNV. They’re a lot closer to bands like Suicide Commando, Grendel and Wumpscut, although the vocals are strictly English

You know, this could’ve been a great album instead of just a good one. It is doomful, dark and despairingly moody, just what the genre calls for. There are plenty of 4-on-the-floor beats making some of the tracks conducive to club play, and good change-ups where the music is allowed to breathe create some drama. The two main problems are: too many effects (most notably reverb and echo) on nearly everything save the kick drum (although I wouldn’t doubt there is effects processing on it too) and WAY too many movie dialogue samples. I realize dialogue samples have become a staple of dark electro bands over the years, but when you repeatedly use long passages of dialogue in your songs, they tend to take them over, and that’s not a good thing.

Kai’s vocals are processed rasp, a hallmark of the dark electro genre and on the opening track "Mask," they are very raspy and very processed. The main drawback is that even though it sets a tone, you can’t understand what the singer is singing. But, in Wynardtage’s defense, it does get toned on parts of the album. And unlike some who use that technique, I get the impression that this guy can actually sing, which is a major plus in my book. On a slower paced track like "Leaving" where the vocals are just above whisper, the moodiness of the music really grabs you. Think of some of Lycia’s better moments.

It is also a good thing that the beat-driven tracks aren’t nonstop pounding rhythm. There are breaks that allow the synths to build and heighten the tension. More dark electro outfits should make use of this. Save the nonstop pounding for the club mix. The big surprise came mid-album on the title track, "The Grey Line". Mel takes over lead vocals here and her coolly melodic emotionally-distanced vocals are sultry Euro-Goth , not unlike ex-Project Pitchfork vocalist Patricia Nigiani. If she ever puts out her own album, let me know; I’d love to hear it. The music on the song is really well done too.

The relentless use of dialogue samples is really becoming annoying. Mel makes a welcome return on the final track ("Now We Are Alive") before the three remixes ("The Grey Line," "If There is No Tomorrow," "The Frozen Point"). The remixes sound pretty good, actually better than the original tracks. I find that rather unusual as most remixes tend to be boring club fillers or bizarre interpretations of tracks that that have little resemblance to the original.

To sum up, The Grey Line’ could have been a great album if it wasn’t for too much effects and too many dialogue samples. Maybe some people like their dark electro that way, but for me, less is better. Wynardtage is on the Rupal label in Europe, but here in America you can find them on COP International. CDs available at Amazon (and probably other outlets), downloads on iTunes.

BLUE VELVET: Rotation

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Music / Industrial Metal / Aggro Industrial / Electro Metal
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Dec 17 2009
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Artist: BLUE VELVET
Title: Rotation
Format: CD
Label: Breakdown Records
Rated: *****
Formed in 1999 by Dough (electro voice , guitar and programming) and Andy Head (electro guitar), Blue Velvet started working on their music inspired by the sounds of N.I.N., Ministry and Einsturzende Neubauten. Few years later Malcom11 (bass and programming)and DarkendDawn (drum and electronic drum) joined in and the band started to work on their first full length "The third" which has been released by Koldfinger in 2006. The album showed the band's skill into creating good industrial electronic music where energy and melody blend. The new album ROTATION is a natural consequence of the previous one as it contains remixed version (I might say re-worked versions as the new tracks aren't composed looping few few parts of the old ones) of the old tracks which on this album find a new life. If tracks like "I wanna be like him" or "Manipulated soul"
on "The third" were sounding like good electro industrial tunes, now they seems have been filtered through a cyber industrial device that added more influences (a bit of techno, a bit of break beat). The nine tracks of ROTATION sound rich, distorted and futuristic without losing their primitive spark. Check some tracks at the band's myspace. They deserve it...

QUARTERSIZED: Samhain E.P.

 Posted by Maurizio Pustianaz (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
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Dec 13 2009
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Artist: QUARTERSIZED
Title: Samhain E.P.
Format: MCD (Mini CD)
Label: MOMT (@)
Rated: *****
SAMHAIN EP is the second released by Quartersized and it is available as digital download and CD-r. With the first E.P. Ian gave his version of electro funk music while this time he focused on electro but exploring themes usually covered by different musical genres. Esoteric and dark themes are the core of the four tracks you find on this release. For example the opening "This fog" is inspired by John Carpenter soundtrack while "Thine angel sings" is a tribute to William Blake. Musically "This Fog", "Sad Titan Way", "Phonecalls From The Dead" and "Thine Angel Sings" are based on electro sounds and solutions but Ian used an experimental approach that, in my opinion, enhance the experience. His way of dealing with melody, atmospheres and samples are unusual for standard electro acts (which are more influenced by 80s dance music) as I found more correlations with bands like Clock DVA. Anyway, I really enjoyed this release and I suggest you to check it!

Acylum: The Enemy

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Dec 11 2009
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Artist: Acylum (@)
Title: The Enemy
Format: CD
Label: Alfa Matrix (@)
Rated: *****
The with a loud din fulfilled split with his long-year comrade and friend Kai Arnold of WYNARDTAGE has been the drama of the past year, especially if several hints and dissonances out of their private life have been buried out of own carelessness. To offer a too detailed look into a private life via the usage of blogs of a hugs community like MySpace does seldom good, although I tend to put this approach completely into Kai’s own responsibility. Instead to argue too much regarding that awful situation, Pedro Engel has taken his own consequences and has left Rupal Records to join a new contract with Belgian Label giant Alfa Matrix.
"The Enemy" now is the first fruit out of this new collaboration and it offers some surprises and some additional facets of the brutal sound of ACYLUM. At first there’s to mention the addition of the female band member, Nadine "Cooraz" Hagenbeck, who offers her voice for several tracks. As usual for ACYLUM, also the tracks on "The Enemy" convince with their raw and pummeling attitude and of course with the fat wall of cinematic instrumentals – a merciless x-times-kick-in-the-butt action is guaranteed! What’s new is Pedro’s braggart-like kind of self-presentation widely presented in the lyrically content of the title track, to name an example. I cannot remember, that I discovered any form of this from him before, and I’m not that sure, if that course of action is well-thought. But with a straight demanding "Raise Your Fist" he may proves that he’s ready for flogging, right? Well, I guess he overestimates himself a bit too much, but that’s a personal impression.
But what rather more polarizes is the merciless usage of "forbidden" themes – sexual child abuse is such a hot topic and the ruthless usage of dramatic voice sample in "Es" will shock the fainthearted audience and there are coming up doubts, if artists out of this special music genre have the right to abuse the cruelty behind this theme for self-presentation. Also Kai Arnold finally seems to get what he deserves out of the sight of ACYLUM, the track "Wynard" is more than obviously a personal deduction with the past things and the lyrical content presented by Nadine spits out the drama, which I mentioned initially.
What kind of result can end this review, if the hard content brings a neutral reviewer to think differently and feels offended on one or another theme presented here obviously without a sense to know boundaries of a good taste? Provocation as being the only one target to reach, is that still art which needed to get expressed? And has a label not the responsibility to hold its saving hands over an artist through a form of censorship or does that label follow a similar cheap motif by hiding under the "we don’t censor art" sentence?


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